Touted as the world’s next-generation stealthy jet fighters and attack aircraft, the F/A-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) may also excel in another area: electronic eavesdropping. The aircrafts’ combination of powerful phased array AESA radars, passive electromagnetic antennas and sensors embedded throughout their frames, powerful onboard computer processing, and secure high-bandwidth communications will give them capabilities once available only to dedicated electronic attack aircraft.
As both of these aircraft programs come under threat of further reductions or cancellation, Pentagon officials are becoming more willing to discuss some of these additional capabilities – and their implications.
Earlier generations of electronic warfare aircraft have taken one of three paths:
That decision is now out of their hands, however. In an Oct. 20 press release, the Bell-Boeing PRV-22 team said that it has made the decision not to submit a proposal for the U.S. Air Force CSAR-X competition:
After an extensive competition among numerous composite material design and manufacturing companies, the Raytheon/Lockheed joint venture NetFires LLC has selected the team of SPARTA Composites, Inc. and San Diego Composites (SDC) as the missile launch/shipping container provider for the NLOS-LS “NETFIRES” Precision Attack Missile (PAM). The SPARTA/SDC container will be built, assembled and tested at the SPARTA facility in San Diego, CA, and the estimated contract value is expected to be in excess of $8 million during the system design and demonstration (SDD) phase of the program alone. Meanwhile, General Dynamics has picked up the contract to be the PAM warhead provider.
What is NETFIRES, and why are these contracts important to the program?
EADS and Thales have agreed to simplify the shareholder and management structure at TDA Armements by selling EADS’ 50% share in TDA Armements, leaving Thales with 100% of the company. TDA Armements in La Ferte Saint Aubin, France and in Herstal, Belgium employs 471 people and generated sales of approximately EUR 90 million in 2004. Thales, in contrast, sold EUR 2.3 billion in land forces equipment alone. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of 2005.
With respect to the companies, the acquisition, and their respective competencies, Thales notes:
Citing members of the Israeli defense ministry, AFP quotes the Israeli newspaper Yedidot Aharonot to claim that pressure from Washington has now forced Israel to freeze a $100 million contract with Venezuela to upgrade its U.S.-manufactured F-16 fighter jets. DefenseNews has more. Israel replaces most of the original American equipment inside its F-16s with Israeli-designed electronics and other modules, making companies like Israel Aircraft Industries a viable second source project lead and integrator for F-16 maintenance and upgrade deals.
Raytheon Systems Co. in Tucson, AZ received a $29.4 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-03-C-0003) for 300 AIM-9M Sidewinder short range air-air missiles and 10 captive air-training missiles for the Government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This order is part of a larger DSCA request that DID covered (and analyzed) on May 12, 2005. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (93%) and Andover, MA (7%), and is expected to be complete in August 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract. See also DID follow-up.
The AIM-9M can engage targets from all aspects, and its IR counter-countermeasures and background discrimination capability are better than those of its own predecessors. It also has a reduced-smoke rocket motor. Deliveries of the M model to the USAF began in 1983.
Small business qualifier Murillo Modular Group Ltd. in Lewisville, TX received a $7.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for Portable Classroom Buildings. Work will be performed in Baton Rouge, LA, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 21, 2005. This was a sole source contract initiated on Oct. 14, 2005 by the Recovery Field Office in Baton Rouge, LA (W912P9-06-C-0006).